With a doll collection usually comes an assortment of clothes, shoes, wigs, eyes, accessories, and in case of BJD COAs, strings, manuals and boxes. And if it’s more than five dolls, all the stuff needs a bit of organization.
I recently learnt what happened to the orphaned doll collection of a blogger friend, and it made me think about what would happen to my dolls if I wasn’t able to take care of them any longer – for whatever reason. Enough food for thought to document and organize my stuff in a way that would enable others to find what they might be looking for. I think we all thought about things like that at some point, but it’s not a very happy thought, so please excuse that I mention it. I have no intention to kick the bucket anytime soon, but you never know, right?
And since I am in the middle of the annual cleaning and sorting, I thought I might tackle this task just as any other. I was wondering if I should write about it at all. But organizing stuff is an essential part of our hobby, so maybe you don’t find it as boring as I fear you might. Long story short, let’s do it.
The certificates were in a drawer, everything was stored somewhere. I knew where, of course. But even I have to open a couple of boxes before I find things I have not used in a while. Of course I have the doll info on the blog, but I thought it might be a good idea to print them and add some information who had changed hands, swapped bodies or what parts hybrids combine. And where to find the original parts. And since my doll’s stuff is mostly labeled with the name I gave them, but the COA only mentions the sculpt name, all this information is now combined and filed away neatly. I added the stringing manuals, COAs and whatever documentation I thought was worth keeping. Two file folders, one for the big dolls and one for the small dolls. You better behave, resin-folks, you’re on record now ;).
Second: Body part organization
That was a good idea, because I realized that I had almost forgotten that some of the SID and JID had hand updates, and some of the Raccoon wear FID hands. At least 40 poly bags later, all the high heel feet, the original parts that have been exchanged for newer versions or extra parts are labeled, sorted and easy to find. I had the high heel feet already in bags and labeled, but I kept them in the shoe boxes. Now there’s one box for the small feet, one for the big feet and one for the original parts, all three sitting nicely next to the dolls in the cabinets.
Third: Clothes organization
For the longest time I had all the shoes, clothes and other stuff in boxes. The smaller dolls each have their own small box. I found those a while ago, they are about the size of file folders, and a great storage solution for the FID and Raccoon clothes. But the big dolls just had all their clothes mixed up in two big boxes, they don’t fit into the small ones. At some point I had them neatly arranged on little hangers in the doll cabinet, but after one of my carefully knitted cardigans was attacked by moths, I put the clothes in boxes. They take up a lot of space, I have to rifle through them in search of that one shirt, and I forget what garment I made for which doll.
Time to change that. First I made piles for each doll’s clothes, all the time wondering how I could keep them in a dust free, moth safe, space saving way per each doll. Non-collector folks probably laugh, but we know that the question of clothes organization and storage regularly pops up on discussion boards. What I came up with is what you can see below. It might not be pretty, but it’s the most efficient storage solution I found so far, and I have tried several over the years. These are 3 liter Ziplocs. The girl’s bags sit on a shelf in the doll cabinet, the men’s clothes and costumes for the underdressed dolls fit two at a time into magazine files. They went onto a bookshelf. It’s actually a good way to plan new sewing projects. The thinnest bags need more content ;). I am sure my girls will agree.
For all the shared stuff like shawls, hats, socks, tights I have several little chests of drawers made from cardboard. I also use them for 1:6 clothes and shoes. I love those thingies, they are usually on sale once or twice a year at Aldi. They are just about 2 Euros and come with the usual office and school supply special deals. Yes, the labeling is a bit OCD, but if you have at least 6 of these chests in use you start to open at least 4 drawers before you find the right one. I found quite a few items I had completely forgotten.
I have done a lot more sorting and labeling, but I didn’t want to go completely overboard with the pictures. But it was actually fun, and I have created a bit more free space with this whole clearing up frenzy. I hope I didn’t bore you too much. But maybe this post inspires you to do some sorting and re-organizing yourself. You will have a sense of achievement afterwards, that much I can predict.
You did an amazing job here! I always find it interesting to see how other collectors store their stuff, mainly because I find it so hard to organise everything myself, and inspiration is always welcome. It all looks very tidy and easy to find! I made an attempt a while ago to organise my doll stuff by using empty boxes of displayed dolls and put post-its on them with what’s inside. It’s not practical though. Thanks for sharing your methods, I enjoyed reading this post very much. 🙂
Thank you for the feedback! I think we all tried different methods, temporary solutions and the realization that something might look nice but is not very practical. Been there, done that ;D. And I just noticed that I misspelled my Certificates folder labels. Haha…
What great ideas! I could definitely be more organized – thanks for the idea! I keep small doll clothes in boxes and I have several cabinets from IKEA for the FIDs and SIDs, but it could all be better organized. I also like the files and notebooks for the documentation.
Thank you! IKEA Moppe organizer is also great, I have those too. I hope I can keep the tidiness up for a bit. Stuff tends to wander 😀
Okay Mia, so now you’ve organised all yours so brilliantly, will you please, please come and organise mine??? Actually, I have been having the same thoughts, but it overwhelms me every time i think about it. Storage has never been a problem, however the paperwork is. To be honest I have no idea when my certificates are right now. I have been selling off odd heads, hands etc. when I no longer require them rather than storing them.
Haha… How about we exchange orga for storage space? I probably should sell things I never used, like mis-fits, wigs and clothes no one claims. But I have not gotten around to it yet. I do keep the old hands, the big SID woman hands work fine as gesture hands for nYID boys.
That is absolutely impressive!
I love organizeing things like that, I also have many boxes labeled with “pink beads”, “green beads”, “silver pendants”, “cotton laces”, “cotton scraps” (great for lining pockets, right?) and many, many more. But to be honest – my doll stuff is a total mess. I need to find some time to make a revolution there too.
Yes, we all have thoughts about our dolls and stuff.
Thank you! I had to laugh, because even though I reorganized my fabric and ribbons and stuff a few years ago, I could do that again. There is still so much I should just let go instead of shoveling it from one box into another…
Okay, honestly this post was a sucession of reactions. First the doll bureaucracy and I was like “so manyyyy??? WHAT EVEN???”. Then the biohazard that says “specimen bag” and my shock was instantly replaced by laughter, chortled on the water I was drinking, and yeah. Excellent pun, loved it!
And the clothes, OMG! I do have them in boxes and bags, except the tinies’ which is just a mess. But that chest coffer and the labels is goals.
Hands down, all my aw and admiration. You did an excellent job!
Haha, the specimen bag is a left over from all the covid tests. I am glad you had a laugh :). I thought you knew how many, or at least had an idea looking at the growing population of the “family” section… But I never know by heart, I always have to count.